I was coaching my 7 year old’s baseball game last week when one of the kids asked me if I was a “real” coach. When I asked him what a “real” coach was, he said someone that coaches Major League Baseball. For the record I am not a MLB level coach, but I was flattered that he thought so highly of my skills. It did get me to think about how many different seasons I have been coaching. This week I am going to share with you some of the things I’ve learned about evaluating players, their impact on the team, and how this relates to your business.
In the more than fifteen seasons I’ve coached various sports (some as head coach others as an assistant) I have noticed there are three types of kids that play sports. We have the kids that are there because their parents want them to. These kids go through the motions of playing, but don’t really enjoy it. There are those that are there to play. These are the ones that show up to practice, do the drills, contribute in the games.
Good players only think about the sport when they are practicing or during a game. Then there are what I call the ball players. Ball players are the first ones there, last to leave. They always give it there best, and they practice between practices. They play ball outside, not on a video game. These players give any team a competitive advantage.
Businesses have the same three levels of employees.
- Paycheck Collectors: Paycheck collectors show up just for a paycheck. They do the bare minimum, and complain about doing that.
- Work Horses: Then there are your work horses. Work horses come in, do the work needed. They do solid work, but rarely go above and beyond.
- Superstars: Then there are your superstars. These are the people that are there early, stay late, and get the job done no matter what.
If your company has people there just to collect a paycheck, you might want to consider why you are still employing them. This article will talk about the difference between your work horses and superstars and why developing superstars impacts your bottom line.
Level of Competition
My boys play sports, and there are basically two levels of sports. There are the recreational (rec) leagues and there are the competitive leagues (or travel teams). The rec leagues are filled with kids that play ball, and occasionally a player that is there because their parents want them to play. In rec league we can have some intense games, and decent players, but we don’t really play at a high level. Occasionally a team will have a ball player (we’ll call him/her a ringer). This is a person we consider that should be playing at a higher level of competition.
Ball players play at a higher level of competition. These players are the ones that are on travel team, all-star teams, or play in the little league world series. Ball players elevate the level of performance for the entire team, and when surrounded by other ball players, the team competes at a whole different level.
Your employee base is filled with those that play ball (work horses) or ball players (superstars). Identifying potential ball players on your staff, and developing them to their highest potential will give you a competitive advantage. Even if you are not the business owner, and work for someone else, learning to become a ball player, and elevating your level of play will take your career to the next level.
In most little league organizations, the older the kids get the less kids that actually come out and play. For example, in my local organization, when my oldest started there were eight teams in his age group. Today there are three teams. That means roughly 60% of the kids that played a few years ago have stopped playing. Now, the competitive teams, the travel teams, are generally still intact. They might lose a player here and there, but they don’t have the 60% turnover that the rec leagues experience.
Employee retention is expensive for companies. Studies show that to replace talented employees can cost 150% of their salary. Not to mention the impacts of lost production and morale on your team. Developing your talent to ball player status, and creating a company that plays competitive ball, will help you improve retention and avoid unnecessary costs associated with losing good people.
When a rec team has a ball player on the roster, the other teams take notice, and quickly. Why? Because they are more productive than anyone else on the field/court. This is the basketball player that scores more than your entire team combined or the baseball player that always hits the ball to the fence and pitches harder than anyone in the league. This is the kid that is faster and kicks harder than any other soccer player. They give you a competitive advantage because they produce more.
I read a statistic the other day that high performers produce 400% more than their mediocre counterparts. Wow! That means if that person left your company, it would take four people just to get the same level of production that you were getting for one! Let me ask you, how would your company benefit from having someone that was that productive? Maybe two or three people like that? These are your ball players. They come to work and produce. They are engaged, motivated, and energetic about their work.
This Week’s Challenge
Take a look at your company and the competitive landscape. Are you playing rec league, or are you playing competitive? Do you have employees that are there to play ball, or even worse employees that are collecting a paycheck, or does your team develop and attract ball players?
If you want to get real results, you must be playing competitive ball, AND must identify and develop your talent to maximize their potential. Next week, I’ll talk about how to retain and attract ball players to your company, and it’s more than just a hefty salary!
If you would like to discuss more ways to help your business grow or if you feel you have a specific problem that needs to be addressed, please reach out to me.